Donald Trump needs to sit down and shut up. And perhaps he needs to go back and take an English class in college. Granted, in the written word, sarcasm is sometimes difficult to detect. Unless you know a person’s bias or their history, or they keep up the sarcasm long enough, it can be tricky. Often times, sarcasm is about tone. Trump’s latest gaffe however, was not of the written word, it was done in a speech, various speeches and interviews where tone is evident and I did not hear a sarcastic tone when he called President Obama and Ms. Clinton the founders of ISIS
Now this morning, he is telling everyone it was sarcastic. Mr. Trump, here are some examples:
In the 1980’s, Donald Trump raped and murdered over ten women in New York City. Believe me folks, I have the proof. He raped and murdered multiple women in and around the New York area. Believe me.
Donald Trump, if elected President, will be the best thing to happen to race relations and women’s rights in the history of this country.
Can you spot the sarcasm? Of course you can. The first statement is not sarcastic at all, it is just mean baseless rhetoric; but by Donald Trump’s definition of sarcasm, that’s all it is. And could someone please tell me why that when ever Mr. Trump is caught in another gaffe, he has to walk it back by insulting someone? It is a pathology of narcissism when you have to tear someone down to admit your own mistakes. WAKE UP AMERICA and see that the emperor has no clothes!
If you are a full-throated supporter of Donald Trump for President, I have little to say to you. If you tacitly support Trump because you don’t like Hillary Clinton, I will tell you to grin and bear it. I have little doubt that Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. Deal with it. Many of the people I talk to who really just don’t like Hillary Clinton continue to call her out for being a liar. It is a common refrain. However, they can point to nothing substantive with which to indict her.
If you have been in the public eye as long as Ms. Clinton has been and have had your statements parsed as often as she has, any politician will more than likely be called a liar. Let’s not forget that Ms. Clinton was the first lady for eight years and was vilified by the right wing for every single day. I have looked at the “lies” to which her critics point and I must conclude the following: has Ms. Clinton embellished her personal narrative in order to make a political point? Yes. Has she stretched the truth in order to bolster her political rhetoric? Guilty. Has she made questionable statements about complex issues that are very difficult to disprove? Possibly. But when it comes to policy matters, I have no doubt that Ms. Clinton is guided by a strict moral compass and has the courage of her convictions. I can find nothing regarding policy matters that would be termed a lie. I cannot point to a single issue where she changed her position for political expediency. Has she evolved on some issues? I suppose so, as a good politician should.
Bill said in his speech at the Democratic Convention that Hillary does not necessarily lead on issues and she may take longer to understand and evaluate the nuances of a particular subject but when she takes a position, she will fight hard to defend and advance it. To me, that speaks to a person who is thoughtful, reasoned and doggedly determined to do the right thing.
Earlier this summer, immediately following the Brexit vote in the UK, Donald Trump made a statement that David Cameron had misread the mood of the electorate and if he had just fallen in line with the popular consensus, he could have held on to his job. Is that the kind of leadership we seek in this country? Someone who reads the tea leaves and will say and do anything in order to hold on to power? I hope not. I am convinced that a true leader does not fear defeat as long as their moral compass is in tact and that they are defeated on principal and not personality. So to those of you who are voting, not for Donald Trump but against Hillary Clinton, I would ask you to think hard about what kind of leadership you want in this country. You may not agree with her on policy issues but when it comes to character, you could do much, much worse.
We’ve all heard the adage “follow the money”. It usually is the best way to determine what in actuality is going on. No where is that more true than in politics. At the end of May, the Republicans were about to light their hair on fire when it was revealed that the Trump campaign only had about $1.3 million in the campaign war chest as opposed to Ms. Clinton’s $42 million. In June and July, Trump closed the gap and started to raise funds but Clinton was still outpacing him. According to the campaigns, Trump has raised $131 million since June 1 and Clinton has raised $159 million. So the question becomes, what is happening to the money? We know that on the June expenditure report, $6 million of Trump’s war chest went back to Trump owned companies. $423,000 to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Florida presumably for rental for campaign events, $520,000 for rent and utilities at Trump Tower in New York for campaign offices, $26,000 to rent Trump National in Miami for a campaign event in January, $11,000 for rental of a ballroom at Trump’s hotel in Chicago, and $4.6 million to TAG Air, the holding company for Trump’s airplanes. In addition to that, $5,000 went to Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing, LLC to pay for wines used at campaign functions and the campaign also paid a company owned by a board member of Eric Trump’s charitable foundation $4.7 million for hats and t-shirts used in the campaign. Some of this spending may look bad for the candidate but not illegal under current campaign finance laws. It should be noted that the $50 million Trump infused into his campaign during the primaries was forgiven and counts as his contribution to the campaign. The only thing to glean by this so far is that Donald Trump is watching out for his own business interests and taking care of his friends. Should we expect more from his Presidency?
The question now is, where and how will the campaign war chest be spent. So far, it seems that the only use for the money has been to try an raise more campaign cash. There has been very little spending on television ads and reports are surfacing that campaign offices in swing states are not adequately equipped and staffed. There has been some movement in the digital ad space but still no ad buy of television spots while the Clinton campaign is aggressively advertising in swing states and Nationally most notable during the Olympic Games now in progress.
The Trump campaign does seem to be rewriting the rules as it pertains to Presidential campaigning but the “rules” exist because in large part, they seem to work. Money moves polls as much as polls move money is a favorite mantra inside the political world and the proof is playing out in front of our eyes. Since the Clinton campaign has been aggressively putting their message in front of the American people, their poll numbers are on the rise. I can’t yet decide if Trump is crazy like a fox or just crazy. I suppose we shall find out on November 8th.
I have long said that the electorate of the United States longs for another President like Harry Truman. Truman never aspired to the White House and was not enamored with the thought of being President. Truman was a Midwestern guy and was plain spoken. He did not couch what he said, had the courage of his convictions and famously said that the buck stopped with him. He was always ready to defend his comments and to my knowledge never had to “walk back” his statements or apologize for what escaped his mouth. After all, Truman was a seasoned politician having spent over 30 years as a public servant.
When Donald Trump emerged as a Presidential candidate some 14 months ago, many were first struck with his seemingly plain spoken manner and his lack of a teleprompter at his stump speeches. I heard some supporters comparing Trump to Truman and as it turns out, the two could not be further apart. Maybe that is why Trump is so open to the idea of using nuclear weapons: to be more like Truman who as we know is the only President in history to authorize their use in war time.
Never have I seen a candidate who speaks so indiscriminately in public. Perhaps it is his lack of political experience but I suspect there is a deeper pathology at work. Trump constantly opens his mouth, says something he has not thought about and then he and his surrogates spend the next three days cleaning it up while the left goes wild and the leaders in his own party chastise him. The latest comment, in a long line of comments, was made at a rally yesterday when he suggested that “the second amendment people” could maybe take care of Hillary. Trump and his megaphones are now saying he meant that supporters of the second amendment should band together and vote for Trump so Hillary won’t have the ability to appoint judges to the supreme court to uphold any gun legislation she might propose. Here’s how most people heard it. Somebody should take Hillary out. I mean let’s face it when you talk about “the second amendment people” you are talking about right wing gun nuts who wouldn’t hesitate to act especially if their candidate is encouraging them..
Part of Donald Trump’s appeal is the fact that he thinks “political correctness” has gone too far in the US and perhaps he is right but leaders, true leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. They call Ronald Reagan “the great communicator” because he spoke in careful terms and thought about what he wanted to convey before he opened his mouth. For Trump, this latest debacle is just another in a long line of statements that have been “misunderstood” or he meant it as a joke or didn’t really mean what he said. Can we really entrust the running of this country to a man who is constantly explaining what he meant to say or apologizing for what he said? Nothing will ever get done
Political polling is an inexact science at best but professional pollsters seem to have a pretty good handle on it. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be so accurate so often. During the 2016 primary season, there were over 28 million votes cast in Republican primaries. Donald Trump managed to get just over 13 million of those votes. A record for a Republican candidate to be sure but realize that there were more votes cast against him in the primaries as for him. Historically, in non-incumbent Presidential elections, less than 50% of the voters turn out in the primary season. Based on the number of registered voters and primary turnout, I would venture to say that there will be somewhere around 135 million votes cast on November 8. If we assume that every Republican voter in the primaries votes for Donald Trump (which is a stretch in an of itself) and twice as many Republican voters go to the polls, that puts Donald Trump with a vote total of somewhere around 56 million votes or 41%
Based on what I see and read, Donald Trump has done very little to increase his base from the primary season. In fact, he seems to be alienating more people than he is attracting. I think Trump was counting on a number of Bernie Sanders voters to join his campaign but sadly for him, Sanders voters are not that stupid. Obviously, as the campaign wears on, the poll numbers will fluctuate here and there but if anything, Trump’s numbers will more than likely sink as more and more people are exposed to his vitriolic hate speech.
The most recent polls have Trump somewhere between 35 and 42% and those numbers are not likely to change significantly. If anything, I suspect his poll numbers to settle somewhere around 38%. There is often talk of an “October surprise” in Presidential politics but unless Hillary Clinton is anointed by Satan himself on national TV, I don’t see any surprise that would be able to make Trump a viable, realistic candidate for the Presidency. The good news is that Trump will lose, perhaps by an historic margin. The bad news is that it seems as though at least a third of the electorate in this country is crazy enough or pissed off enough to actually consider electing a deluded, egomaniacal, reality TV personality and dubious businessman with absolutely no political experience to the highest, most powerful position in the world. It doesn’t bode well for the future.
Republicans always want to point to Ronald Reagan as the patron saint of the Republican party. They quote him endlessly and want to invoke his memory when ever they need to rally support in the party. My own opinion not withstanding, they point to Reagan as the model of a modern major political leader. I now hear those same Republicans bitching about their party’s nominee for President. To those Republicans I say you reap what you sow. The rise of Donald Trump is exactly what the GOP has fostered since their last great hero sat in the Oval Office. I don’t hear anyone extolling the virtues of “43”. Or “41” for that matter and if you discount them, Reagan is all you are left with. Unless, of course, you like Ike. I blame Reagan for the state the Republican party is in currently and if you follow my reasoning, you will understand why
According to the US Department of the Treasury’s national debt figures, we see an ebb and flow to our national debt since the Washington administration. The first interesting thing I noted was when Andrew Jackson became President, the national debt was 67 billion dollars. When he left office our national debt was just over 37 thousand. (not a typo). But I digress. Lincoln exploded the debt but he had a civil war to fight. Wilson and FDR also exploded the debt but they had world wars and a depression to contend with. Truman and Eisenhower paid a fraction of the debt off but since World War II, the debt has been climbing steadily. Never more so than the 1980’s when Reaganomics ruled. When Reagan took office, the debt was 907 billion dollars and by the time he left office that figure was 2.6 trillion. Ronald Reagan increased the national debt by 186% during his administration during a time of relative peace in this country. So what did we get for our 1.69 trillion dollars of additional debt? I guess you could make a case for spending the Eastern Bloc into oblivion but then you might have to wonder if we might not have been better off for all those years with a true “balance of power” and ignore the problems and strife that has existed in the Balkans, the Ukraine, Chechnya and Crimea since the Soviet Union fell. Now, what else did Reagan use that money for? Oh yes, let’s not forget the massive 25% tax cut he gave to those in the upper income brackets. According to Reagan, the additional wealth he bestowed on the top few percent of earners was supposed to “trickle down” to the rest of us but in actuality, it started a 30 year long expansion of income inequality in this country. The rich got richer and the poor or average schmucks stayed poor and average.
Fast forward to today and the Republican elite who have believed for a generation that the path to happiness is lowering taxes and increasing defense spending all the while not paying attention to what is really going on in this country. Average Americans are sick and tired of watching the “ruling class” get richer, corporate greed running rampant while shipping US jobs overseas and not really caring about the “social issues” so important to a minority of the Republican establishment. Americans want to be safe in their own country and a chance to better themselves through hard work and loyalty. Unfortunately the loyalty flowed from the bottom up but not from the top down. Republicans have survived for many years by people voting against their interests so when you get a slick reality TV star who is able to tap into their fears and insecurities and convince them only he can fix the problems, again, they will vote against their interests to try anything to “right the ship”. What they don’t realize is that a vote for Donald Trump is for Trump’s sake not theirs.
So the next time I hear a Republican bitching about Donald Trump while praising Reagan, I say you get what you deserve.
To quote Bernie Sanders, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails”. Even though the FBI has determined that Secretary of State Clinton was “extremely careless” in the handling of her emails, as far as I can tell, no harm was done. Hillary Clinton has not been Secretary of State in almost four years and if there were any actionable intelligence contained in her e-mails, that window has probably expired. I will be honest, I don’t fully understand the scandal as well as others but what I do understand is that she chose to use a private server located in the basement of her home rather than the servers at the State Department. I guess there is an issue of transparency there and perhaps I am too trusting of a person but I do trust a life long public servant like Mrs. Clinton to have done the right thing. Call me naive if you wish. I just don’t believe there was anything sinister in the decision. I believe it was sheerly a matter of convenience.
I do have one question , however. Do the lynch mobs that keep harping about Clinton’s e-mails realize that in March of 2015, it was revealed that Russian hackers infiltrated the State Department servers and perpetrated what Federal law enforcement, intelligence and congressional officials call the “worst ever” cyber intrusion into a government agency. If Ms. Clinton’s emails had been stored on that server, the Russians would now have access to them all. In retrospect, perhaps we should be applauding Mrs. Clinton for keeping her e-mail correspondence “close to the vest”.
Cyber terrorism is not new and any government agency makes an attractive target for hackers representing a foreign government. I look at it this way, if you believe that banks are at risk and possibly may become insolvent, you tend to put your money underneath your mattress or bury it in the backyard. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton was perceptive enough to understand the risks inherent in a large unruly bureaucracy and chose to bury her e-mails in the backyard. I will give her a pass.
I watched with great interest the Libertarian town hall last night on CNN. I knew of William Weld’s tenure as Governor of Massachusetts back in the 90’s but I was not terribly familiar with Gary Johnson or his policies. Wikipedia (yeah, spare me) defines Libertarianism as, “a collection of political philosophies that uphold liberty as their principal objective.” The roots of Libertarianism date back to the founding fathers to be exact. In a matter of speaking, this country was founded by a dedicated group of Libertarians who believed that a country could and should be able to govern themselves based on the principals of liberty
I was struck immediately by the two candidates and their intelligence and their measured responses to the questions put before them. They were well versed on the subjects and did not come across as wacky or out of touch as the mainstream media would have you believe. The best I can glean from the town hall is this; less government interference in our lives, a smaller federal government and a common sense approach to the problems that face this country. I don’t believe they wish to cede every government program to the states but I do think that they believe that the federal government has too big a role in too many issues. National problems demand national solutions and I think they understand where the boundaries are. They talked about appointing the most intelligent Democrats and the best Republicans to positions of power in their administration and talked about a true partnership in the running of the country.
Jerry Garcia said that constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil. Unfortunately in today’s highly charged bi-partisan atmosphere in Washington something has to break the logjam or this government will atrophy. Both of the major party candidates have incredibly high negative approval ratings and no one seems to want to support either of them. They seem to just want to vote against someone. Perhaps it is time for us all to give the Libertarians a good hard look and think about what might be best for this country. I can’t say with certainty that it is the Johnson / Weld ticket but I do think they deserve a seat at the table a place in the debates and a sober examination of what they stand for and the direction they would like to take the country
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. It’s an old proverb largely attributed to President Harry Truman but it’s origins date back before then. It means that if a task is too great or too taxing, one should give up or move on to something else.
Donald Trump said this past weekend that Khizr Khan, the father of slain American soldier Humayun S. M. Khan, viciously attacked him at the Democratic Convention and that he had “no right” to do so. Unless Mr. Trump has suspended the first amendment to the Constitution, Mr. Khan indeed has every right to criticize Mr. Trump in any way he chooses. That is what is great about this country. I remember a story from many years ago G.B. Trudeau, the creator of the comic strip ‘Doonesbury’ was at a function at George H.W. Bush’s White House. When asked by a foreign dignitary what he did, Mr. Trudeau explained and the dignitary stated that in his country, he would probably be discredited or killed, not wined and dined by the butt of his jokes.
Presidents realize this dichotomy in American politics. It is what keeps our political process in check and makes it the envy of the world. People do have the right to criticize and comment on the workings of our leaders without fear of retribution. So I ask you, how in the world would Donald Trump react if, by some miracle he were to be elected, when his administration comes under fire by the press? Angry tweets at 5 in the morning are one thing but a man like this with real power and the resources of the federal government at his fingertips is a frightening prospect. Trump will make Nixon look like a boy scout.
Lately, I have been watching “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth” on Showtime. It is a weekly recap of the Presidential campaign hosted by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann of Bloomberg news and Mark McKinnon, an American political adviser, reform advocate, media columnist and television producer. The thing I like best about “The Circus” is that it brings an element of humor into the realm of usually dry political reportage
On last week’s show, John Heilemann commented that “Trump’s convention speech was a bad speech badly delivered and Hillary Clinton’s convention speech was a mediocre speech mediocrely delivered.” I take issue with that statement because I thought Hillary’s speech was a very good speech and gave an insight into who she was more so than I have seen. I guess my question is how high a bar has been set for Hillary Clinton and how low are the expectations for her rival? I finally realized that deep down, Hillary Clinton is a wonk and knows better than probably anyone on the political landscape these days how government works and how to get things done in Washington.
Very rarely in this country do things change in sweeping reform. It is an incremental governmental system and a series of small changes eventually lead to real change. It takes time and is based on what a politician thinks can make it through Congress rather than what might be good for the country as a whole. The fact that the party in the White House has never been in power for more than twelve years in a row in the modern era (since Truman) speaks to why things change so slowly.